When hip displasia hits your dog

Our eight-month-old lab Whiskey has slim, good-looking hips.

But we’re going to have to get them operated on soon.

After returning from a trip to the Tahoe City Farmers Market on Thursday (had a good visit with Mary Dedrick of Dedrick’s Cheese), my son and I found that Whiskey had swiped my “readers” off the shelf and chewed them to bits.

Trouble is, some bits were missing, so I called the vet. “Not to worry, she’ll pass them,” he reassured me.

I know, but headed into a long weekend, I decided to bring her to the vet’s office for a set of X-rays. (Our previous dog once got sick on a long weekend, and we learned from the experience).

The X-rays revealed some bits of plastic, but something else much worse: She had one of the worst cases of hip displasia I’d ever seen. The hips were riding out of the sockets. It was hard to tell from the outward behavior.

The news was depressing, since her Mom and Dad were both rated “excellent” for their hips. But labs are prone to this, so she’ll probably need hip surgery.

I’m finding that middle age is sometimes like sitting on a pin cushion, but we’ll muddle through, just like we have with other disappointments. We’re a strong, tight-knit bunch.

More of Obama staffers maxing out at $172K

President Obama has held to his word not to raise staff salaries, but more of them are making the maximum amount – $172,200 – than in the Bush administration.

The total staffers making that much money comes to 20 under the Obama administration compared with 18 under Bush, according to the L.A. Times.

According to the Times, “Here are some of the newly-minted bigshots making the big bucks: David Axelrod, Robert Gibbs, Valerie Jarrett, Carol Browner, Larry Summers, James Jones, Susan Sher (Michelle’s chief of staff), Rahm Emanuel and Jon Favreau, the paper Hillary-groping speechwriter.”

Who’s marching in the July 4th parade?

Here’s a list of who’s marching in the July 4th parade in Grass Valley, courtesy of the Grass Valley Downtown Association. The parade starts at 11 a.m. in downtown Grass Valley. It’s always a fun event.

We rotate between the GV/NC one and the one in Truckee. This year we’ll be “Marching on Main.” Hope to see you there.

Group Name

Boy Scout Pack 855
Chicago Park PTC
Grass Valley Town Crier
Marine Corp League
American Legion
American Legion Honor Van
Vietnam Veteran
Friends of NC Military/Blue Star Mom
Grand Marshall-Ed Scofield
GV City Council
NC City Council
Ophir Prison Band
Grass Valley Schools Foundation
Rough & Ready Fire Dept
49er Rotary Breakfast Club
Empire Mine State Park Assoc
Nevada County Sheriff Search & Rescue
Center for the Arts
Union Hill Marching Band
Old Barn Self Storage
Studebaker Club
Nevada Union drum line
Elam Biggs
Nevada County Library
Gold Country Telecare
Grass Valley Host Lions Club
Nevada County Horsemen Inc.
Gold Country Celtic Society
Missouri Jack & The Sierra Outlaws
Nevada City Fire Dept.
Food Wine Art magazine
Gold Country Gymnastics
Girl Scouts
GV Host Lions and NUHS Drama
Nevada County Democrats
Lori Hodges
Madison Lodge
Healthy Smiles of Nevada County
Penn Valley Cub Scouts
Briar Patch Co-Op
Idaho-Maryland Mining Corp.
D & T Enterprises
Lyman Gilmore Marching Band
Nevada County Historical Society
Gold Country Lacrosse
Frank B. David
Quail Ridge Senior Living
Nevada County Republican Central committee
Blood Source
Bon Bon Salon
The Fur Traders
Quicksilver Antique Military
Penn Valley 4H Club
Sierra Stage Community Theaters
Sons of Norway
Tea Party Patriots
Jen Abrahamson
E Clampus Vitus
GV Elks Lodge
Airfest – Tim Obrien
Doug LaMalfa
Ophir Prison band

Journalism-wise, things are looking up here

Things are looking up here when it comes to journalism:

*A plan is in the works to hire a new editor at The Union. Though some people complain she is from outside the area without much local knowledge, I’m just glad to see a paper that sees the value of having an editor and a publisher. Combining the two roles doesn’t work. Never has, never will.

*Dixie Redfern’s blog has an important item about the future of investigative news, from Poynter.org. It talks about the value of nonprofit journalism, which has been raised by readers of this blog.

*A former editor of The Union, Pat Butler, is launching a new newspaper, the Nevada City Advocate, on Friday. It will provide new competition.

*NC Voices, run by Nevada City resident Anna Haynes, is cementing itself as a “go to” aggregation site for local content, also providing more choice.

Whether you agree or disagree with any of these people is irrelevant. All of these developments are a step forward for raising the bar of journalism in a small rural community.

How will Emgold dispose of mine waste now?

Emgold Mining Corp. has said it plans to renew a licensing deal with Ceramext to make ceramic tiles from the mine waste at the Idaho-Maryland mine if the deal wins approval.

But Emgold’s Web site has now removed all mention of Ceramext or the Golden Bear tile works. The site used to provide a lengthy description of the process.

The tile works was labeled a “green business” and was supposed to create new jobs.

It also was meant to be a persuasive solution for getting rid of the mine waste. Now that strategy is no longer being discussed on the Web site.

Emgold is expected to provide more information to the city later this summer about the mine operations.

There’s been a lot of uncertainty about the mine lately, a reminder of the danger of supporting such a complex project so early in the process.

New “outsourcing” deal of The Union’s parent

Reader comments often provide the best insights on blogs – in this case getting to the bottom of a new “outsourcing” policy at The Union’s parent Swift Communicatons.

A possible result: replacing some duties at the community papers in Grass Valley and elsewhere (a longtime finance job and an IT job at The Union have disappeared from The Union’s masthead, for example) with new jobs in centralized locations such as Carson City.

To be sure, The Union is creating new local jobs too – such as posting an opening for a sales position and one for a senior accountant.

But the outsourcing of some administrative functions away from Grass Valley has not gone unnoticed by readers.

“Last week, I sent in my subscription renewal to The Union,” the reader wrote. “The envelope provided used to read the Union’s address in Grass Valley. It is now being sent to an address in Carson City, Nevada. No doubt a Swift Communications collection point.”

He was not pleased, concluding: “Buy locally, subscribe to The Union and send your money to Nevada.” He was referring to the “buy local, shop local” mantra being preached throughout our community.

He’s onto something:

Swift’s Web site has now posted two openings for a group called Swift Financial Services, described as a “skilled centralized finance group” located in Carson City, Nevada.

*One is for an “Advertising Accounting Specialist I” to provide “accurate and efficient entry of advertising payments,” among other duties.

*The other is for a “Circulation Accounting Specialist I” to provide “accurate and efficient entry of “subscriber, dealer and miscellaneous payments, balancing payment entry, submitting checks for deposit utilizing the desktop deposit software.”

Outsourcing is not new. But this is a reminder how community newspaper chains are also turning to the practice to cut costs and build efficiencies.

No outsourcing deals comes without some objections, and judging from this reader’s response, Swift’s is no exception.

My two-cent’s worth would be to provide some transparency and *explain to subscribers what’s going on.* Many others will no doubt raise similar concerns.

This is a sensitive topic among the management, though: Mentioning Swift in a column or article requires management approval, I was told once, when I innocently enough mentioned the newsroom won an award from Swift for its Sunday Express, along with some others.

Can McClintock unite or divide?

Our local partisan political bloggers (Russ Steele and George Rebane) are almost giddy, because Congressman Tom McClintock visited George’s home for a gathering of like-minded conservative people.

The discussion was predictible: criticizing Obama and his policies.

It got me thinking again whether Congressman McClintock will adequately represent our district.

On the plus side, Tom is more engaged with our community than John Doolittle. I also appreciate Tom’s institutional knowledge of government and politics more than his opponent Charlie Brown.

But Tom is an idealogue more than a pragmatist. I don’t see that changing much, and it’s a big downside.

Instead of going to George’s house, he should be going to the home or homes of all the registered Republicans and independents in our area who voted for Obama, and he should listen deeply and humbly to their concerns.

Obama and Brown carried Nevada County, and the conservatives need to be thinking more deeply about why that happened. They need to be reaching out to people who are frustrated ex-GOPers, not die-hards.

A big reason stemmed from the failures of the Bush administration after eight years – in economic, foreign and regulatory policy.

It must be embarassing for people such as Tom to lose that kind of support in such a conservative community, and he should be working hard to change that.

As an idealogue, Tom’s track record for helping to bring about needed reform in California also is questionable.

Tom served in the California legislature while the state fell into the abyss. His “just say no” power of persuasion is comparable to that of Sam Aanestad, but it didn’t work.

When you’re in a political minority, you need to pick a pragmatic issue and get it across the goal line – not speak out in broad ideological platitudes.

Though I don’t relish the term, Tom really is a “carpetbagger” politican who came to our district, largely because he stood the best chance of getting elected.

As I’ve written before, Placer County is the “new” Orange County, much of it stemming from “white flight” from Southern California and elsewhere.

But Placer and neighboring Nevada County aren’t big enough to spark a state-wide revolution, as Orange County was in the Reagan era.

So instead, you just wind up with like-minded people gathering together and not addressing the real elephant in the corner – literally and figuratively.

Now more than ever, our county has an opportunity to land some significant stimulus funding.

I don’t always agree with the policies. But let’s face it, we are “grant-land” around here, because we have failed to diversify our economy.

So we ought to be on the lookout for government funding that can stimulate our economy and save the ideology and history lessons for another day. Like it or not, nowadays you have to be more of an opportunist.

Our conservative leaders such as Tom also have to be thinking harder about the art of compromise and learning from the outcome of the last election.